Land of our birth, we pledge to thee
Our love and toil in the years to be,
When we are grown and take our place
As men and women with our race.
Teach us to rule ourselves always,
Controlled and cleanly night and day,
That we may bring, if need arise,
No maimed or worthless sacrifice.
Teach us to look in all our ends,
On thee for Judge, and not our friends,
That we, with thee, may walk un-cowed
By fear or favor of the crowd.
Teach us the strength that cannot seek,
By deed or thought, to hurt the weak,
That, under thee, we may possess
Man's strength to comfort man's distress.
Teach us delight in simple things,
And mirth that has no bitter springs,
Forgiveness free of evil done,
And love to all men beneath the sun.
Rudyard Kipling, 1906
This TWA write-up puts forth three questions for reflection – three questions that came to mind after a chat with an elderly expatriate friend very recently about the perennial problems faced by Ghana in particular. And the questions are as follows:-
'Why is it that some Christians – including ordained ministers and lay leaders – lose their testimony and credibility regarding integrity – after they have accepted the call to 'secular/public' service or become closely associated with secular leaders? Why do they turn their eyes to the other side for ‘convenience’ when they see the wrong things done by the leaders they serve or advise?
Is it because of the taste of the ‘sumptuous meals’ serve before them?
Why do you think integrity is becoming an alien to the lexicology of most pulpits? Is it because the Church today; through its leaders focuses more on the accumulation of material wealth, attainment of social visibility probably in order to enhance its own treasury as well as the status and the well-being of its leaders?
Looking at way the Christian – relative to our local circumstances – is blamed and shamed today for the ineptitude, greed and corruption we experience around us, what should we do to help each other – particularly the younger generation, our future leaders – live up to the tenets of biblical integrity?
The elderly man I have just mentioned is not a Christian because he subscribes to an alternate religion. I have over the years been sharing my faith in Jesus Christ with him. Though he is not a Christian, he is very open-minded and he reads and occasionally, reacts to some issues that are raised in the TWA write-ups.
During my chat with him two weekends ago, he intimated to me that we Christians in Ghana like to talk about our God; who is good, fair, upright, sincere and just. And though we pretend to adhere to God’s sacred teachings – mostly through church attendance and sometimes by mere confession more than deed – we are the very people who use our knowledge and sophistication to defraud and strip the nation naked. He told me that until majority of Christians and other believers in the One True God – particularly Christian leaders – start being true to the tenets of our Christian faith; integrity, the fulcrum around which any nation can develop and improve the lives of the majority of their people would continue to elude our national leadership and the country as a whole.
‘After all’, he continued; ‘the quality of the leadership of a nation is a true reflection of the quality of its people. A crab does not beget a bird. ………. And we say the majority of the Ghanaian population is Christian but what do we see happening in the nation?’
He ended with this very long question:
'How many of the leading personalities of our socio-economic, political and even traditional leadership don’t we hear profess to be believers in the Christian God of fairness, uprightness, sincerity and justice but yet superintendent over the rot we continue to hear and read about each day in our media even in the Church?'
I kept quiet and could not contemplate any response to counter my elderly expatriate friend’s frustration not only because I was adhering to the time tested traditional etiquette of respect for the elderly – but that – what my elderly friend said about the lack of integrity among those who profess to be worshipers of the Most High God and say have been called to the 'light and salt to the world' is very true judging by our conduct in public life.
And before allowing me to take leave of him; he told me;
'…..my good friend, I have watched you grow up over the years. I am a witness to your fortitude and perseverance to live simple and uphold the truth of your faith. I have seen and do read your writings but; there is this one thing you must do for yourself and the peers who read and listen to your admonitions – Tell yourself and them about the man or woman for God, neighbour and country. Tell them about the man or woman Ghana needs if it must break through the vicious cycle of ineptitude, mediocrity and shameless greed.’
Following the chat, I did a little research with Philippians 4:8 as a guide; fishing out for admonitions about the men and women our world today is looking out for. Yes! Our world is crying out for men and women who have integrity as their watch word. And these are:-
Men & Women who are not for sale – neither to the highest nor lowest bidder.
Men and Women who are not stomach directed.
Men & Women, who are honest, sound from centre to circumference, true to the heart's core.
Men & Women with consciences as steady as the needle to the pole.
Men & Women who will stand for the right if the heavens totter and the earth reels.
Men & Women who can tell the truth and look the world right in the eye.
Men & Women who neither brag nor run; they neither flag nor flinch.
Men & Women who can have courage without shouting it.
Men & Women in whom the courage of everlasting life runs still, deep and strong.
Men & Women who will know their message and tell it.
Men & Women who know their place and fill it.
· Men & Women who know their business and attend to it.
· Men & Women, who will not lie, shirk or dodge.
· Men & Women who are not too lazy to work, nor too proud to be poor.
· Men & Women who are not willing to eat what have been earned illegitimately and nor wear what they have not paid for.
· Men & Women who are not ashamed to say; 'No' with emphasis.
· Men & Women who are not ashamed to say "I can't afford it.
· Men and Women who plan to and actually service loans or credits granted them by financial institutions and individuals.
The traits listed above can only be true with men and women of integrity. In 1991 my Japanese Professor, made this profound statement whilst he was reviewing my Master’s Thesis which was on an aspect of Ghana’s financial system – the perennial high default rate;
“Integrity produces good results irrespective of one’s creed, belief or faith. But, to the Christian believer, integrity brings an added advantage which is that it makes the believer live true to his faith he professes and uphold the character of God. Any country with a rather high loan default rate has an integrity deficiency problem and its development is bound to at a very low snail pace”
Yes! God is looking for men and women of integrity! He wants those who can unite together around a common faith through integrity— who can join hands in a common task in integrity — and who have come to the kingdom for such a time as this to uphold the tenets of integrity. May God give our country and world such men and women to steer us off the path of shameless greed that leads to self-destruction. Our Lord God says in the Book of Ezekiel; “And I sought a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none." (Ezekiel 22:30a).
And the men and women God looks out for to build the wall and stand before Him in the gap on behalf of the land are those who fix their mind on and actual do the following:-
“Whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honourable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise ………” Philippians 4:8 (Amplified Bible)
Stay blessed and keep trusting in the Lord.
P.O. BOX KIA 16207
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